Asia stocks rise after data drives Wall Street up

BANGKOK (AP) — Asian stock markets rose Thursday after a late-day surge on Wall Street, while the resignation of Steve Jobs — the force behind Apple Inc. — sent ripples through the technology sector.

Oil prices hovered above $85 a barrel in Asia. The dollar rose against the euro but dropped against the yen.

Asian markets got a boost from U.S. data showing a surge in demand for cars and planes in July that offered an unexpectedly upbeat sign of life in the world's biggest economy.

Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 2 percent to 8,815.13. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was 1.5 percent higher to 19,762.86 as strong half-year earnings from China National Offshore Oil Corp. and Bank of China Ltd. on Wednesday boosted sentiment.

South Korea's Kospi jumped 1.6 percent to 1,782.97 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.2 percent to 4,217. Benchmarks in Singapore, Indonesia, India and Thailand were also higher.

Analysts said news that Jobs had stepped down as Apple Inc. chief executive on Wednesday was unlikely to have much impact on markets outside the United States, which is the only country where Apple shares are traded.

Jobs' resignation appears to be the result of an unspecified medical condition for which he took a leave from his post in January. Apple's chief operating officer, Tim Cook, was quickly named CEO of the company Jobs co-founded in his garage 35 years ago and which nowadays is known for hit consumer gadgets such as the iPhone and iPad.

"Clearly for Apple it's a very important event, and it's very likely to have an impact on Apple's share price, but from a broader market perspective, it's not material," said Michael McCarthy, chief strategist at Sydney-based stockbroker CMC Markets.

Shares of Asian technology companies that are direct competitors of Apple rose though the gains weren't dramatically out of line with broader market movements. South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. jumped 3 percent and Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC Corp. added 2.6 percent.

Taiwan's FoxConn Technology Co., which makes the iPhone and iPad for Apple at a massive manufacturing campus in southern China, dropped 2.3 percent.

Vincent Chen, an analyst with Taipei's Yuanta Core Pacific Securities Corp., said Jobs' decision may have led some investors to worry about Apple's longer-term future.

In other sectors, mining shares were down as gold prices come off their recent highs amid improved economic news. Hong Kong-listed Zijin Mining Group, China's largest gold miner, lost 2.4 percent.

Stronger durable goods orders resulted in Wall Street reversing course to close with gains Wednnesday.

The Dow added 143.95 points, or 1.3 percent, to 11,320.71. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 15.25 points, or 1.3 percent, to 1,177.60. The Nasdaq rose 21.63, or 0.9 percent, to 2,467.69.

The U.S. Commerce Department said orders for durable goods rose 4 percent in July, much better than the 2.4 percent increase economists had expected. The rise in orders was due to higher demand for autos and aircraft.

Benchmark oil for October delivery was down 3 cents to $85.13 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude lost 28 cents to settle at $85.16 on Wednesday. In London, Brent crude for October delivery was up 2 cents to $110.17 on the ICE Futures exchange.

In currencies, the euro fell to $1.4407 from $1.4421 in late trading Wednesday in New York. The dollar dropped to 76.94 yen from 77.01 yen.

Associated Press Writers Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia and Debby Wu in Taipei, Taiwan contributed.


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